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Thursday, 28 June 2012

A metrical English translation of 'La Cucaracha'

Counter Most Americans over the age of 40 would probably recognize "La Cucaracha's" catchy tune, and could even provide the first four words. But I doubt that even one in a thousand knows any more of the song. Now, part of the problem is that there are so many different verses, and even more parodies--all of them in Spanish. So, in the interests of literary literacy, I here provide a metrical translation of the chorus, from the Spanish as I first saw it written:

Though Mister Cockroach
May be outspoken,
He won't be gettin' very far.
He won't be smokin',
He won't be jokin',
Because he ain't got no cigar.

Actually, the last word in the original is 'marijuana,' but there are a lot of people in Washington who read this blog--and it would mess up both the rhyme and the meter.

I'm not sure if the song was the origin of calling a joint 'a roach' or not--I'll leave that to someone else to investigate.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Crooked Lawyers in the White House

Counter So far, America has had two husband-wife teams of lawyers make it to the White House as President and First Lady (and, very nearly, as President and First Philanderer). But while they may have studied law--and even, in some cases, taught it--neither Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, or Michelle Obama are licensed lawyers today. Why not? Well, because they were crooks and had to turn in their licenses or face prosecution. What was Michelle Obama's crime? Insurance fraud. And her husband is  the one bringing us universal health insurance coverage--the only way he could think of to end the patient-dumping practice his wife was engaging in when she lost her law license.

UPDATE October 2014
Snopes claims there's nothing odd about both Obamas voluntarily giving up their rights to legal practice. The defense would have been a bit more credible had they been able to show a single other example of a millionaire couple voluntarily putting their law licenses into inactive status.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Relax, Jason, the ice in Antartica isn't shrinking any more.

Counter I received an email today from Jason Mraz. I have only a slight idea who he is (for example, I'm quite sure, just from his name, that he's a male, but not an Asian, African or Afro-American), and he has even less of an idea who I am, but he emailed me all the same. This is what he wrote:
Dear friend,

When I play my music, I always hope I serve a purpose greater than myself. And I care very deeply about finding a solution to the biggest problem we face on our planet. That's global climate change, caused by pollution from human beings like you and me.

Maybe you already know something about climate change. This winter, I got to learn a lot more about it. I joined Al Gore on a trip to Antarctica, where climate change is more visible and scary than almost anywhere else.

This trip to the bottom of the world was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I saw penguins standing on top of ice that's melting fast. I saw for myself, up close and personal, how our beautiful planet is under threat. . .

Well, I have news for Jason, whoever he is. Every winter (now I know he's not an Aussie, a Kiwi, or a European-African), it's summer in Antarctica. The sun shines. All day. All night. It gets warm. Penguins frolic. Ice melts. The ice sheets retreat. Fast.

But relax, Jason. Now, it's winter in Antarctica. Cold. Dark. All day. All night. Winds howl. Penguins huddle. Water freezes. The ice sheets advance. Fast.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A replay of Judges chapter seven--or First Samuel thirteen?

Counter (Virginia Beach, June 19, 2012) -- "Iran, Russia, China and Syria will hold the Middle East's largest ever war game, Iranian news outlets reported quoting unnamed sources," reports the Jerusalem Post. "According to the report, 90,000 troops, 400 warplanes and 1,000 tanks from the four countries will take part in land and sea exercises. The war games will feature Russian atomic submarines, according to Iranian media, as well as warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers. Semi-official Iranian FARS news agency stated that the exercise was being planned in coordination with Egypt, which recently acceded to grant the passage of 12 Chinese warships through the Suez Canal. The report stated that the Chinese naval convoy is due to dock in Syrian harbors within the next two weeks. Regarding the timing of the planned exercise, FARS quoted unnamed Syrian officials as saying the war game would be held 'soon'."

If--and it's a big if--if Israel decides to go it alone without backing from the US--OR if the US is only posturing about not letting Israel attack Iran--this would be a good time to do it. Military operations turn out to be most effective when they are carried out right when the enemy is most strenuously preparing for them by carrying out a full-scale simulation. Then it becomes almost impossible to tell simulation from reality, or opfor from enemy. If any shots end up being fired at the Israelis, some of them will most certainly end up hitting either the Russians or the Chinese. And vice versa.

Just saying. Because I do have some readers in ha-eretz.

This just in . . . MOSCOW (Reuters) - World powers and Iran failed to secure a breakthrough at talks on Tehran's nuclear program on Tuesday and set no date for more political negotiations, despite the threat of a new Middle East conflict if diplomacy collapses.

So, maybe it's not such a big 'if' after all.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Persio-American War: Yet another report on not much to report

Now that June is half over and nothing much is happening, I thought I'd weigh in on the Iran war issue. DEBKA keeps telling us two things: One, that the Iranian government continues to stop short of launching a full-fledged weapons development program--although they have enriched enough uranium by now (up to 27%, far above the 3-4% needed for fuel grade) that when they do, it will be more like six to eight weapons being developed simultaneously; second, that it is primarily heavy pressure from President Obama that has held them back as Iran continues to pass the various milestones on its way to launching a weapons program.

Now, to its embarrassment, the Obama administration has admitted its role in the Stuxnet virus. Just how close this secretive account is to the truth we can't be sure, but since Israel all along has been hinting at its role, we now know our suspicions to be more or less correct.

Given that the US and Israel have been working together on the cyberwarfare front, it's clear that they have a united agenda in physically taking out Iran's nuclear capability, and any assault on that front will be a joint effort.

One last note: the success of Stuxnet on the one hand, and targeted assassinations on the other, show that the Israeli/American axis has an incredible intelligence reach. When an Iranian nuclear scientist sneezes, they know whether or not it's because he has a cold. It's unlikely, especially given the wide success of Flame, that there is any development in the Iranian nuclear program which the axis doesn't know in enough detail to guide the deadline for moving this war from the virtual to the actual.

And by the way: determining just when Flame intel started to pour into Ft. Meade should be pretty easy: just look for a big uptick in enrollment at the Basic Farsi programs of the Defense Foreign Language Institute.